RELEASE: American Workers Lose Nearly $32 Billion Annually Due to Lack of Policies to Support Working Families

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released an updated analysis looking at how much American workers lose in wages each year due to a lack of access to paid family and medical leave and affordable, reliable child care. The analysis relies on Current Population Survey data collected from 2009 to 2018. These new estimates come one week before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on legislative proposals for paid family and medical leave.

Key findings from the analysis include:

  • The total estimated cost to workers due to a lack of access to affordable, reliable child care and comprehensive paid family and medical leave has increased to $31.9 billion in annual lost wages.
  • This includes $9.4 billion in lost wages due to child care problems, which encompasses those estimated to be unemployed due to a lack of access to child care as well as those who either are temporarily or usually working part time for the same reason.
  • Workers and their families lose an estimated combined $22.5 billion in wages each year due to a lack of paid family and medical leave.
  • While men experience greater total lost wages related to temporary disability, women bear the brunt due to child care issues and family caregiving responsibilities.

“More American women are working than ever before, but the reality is that they face a workforce that is systematically setup to not serve their needs,” said Sarah Jane Glynn, senior fellow with the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress. “This analysis shows that lack of support comes at a real cost to working families.”

Please click here to read “The Rising Cost of Inaction on Work-Family Policies” by Sarah Jane Glynn.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202.741.6292.